7. Mr. J. Wells
asked the Minister of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food if he will inquire into the causes of flooding on the Medway with a view to giving 825 special assistance to the Kent River Board and the Upper Medway Internal Drainage Board.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. James Scott-Hopkins)
The basic problem here is the inadequate capacity of the river at times of peak floods, which occur about every five years. No scheme for the improvement of this part of the Medway has been submitted to my Department, so the question of financial assistance does not arise.
I understand that the river board has estimated that an effective scheme to deal with the flooding would cost about £2¼ million. It has very properly considered whether the benefits to be expected would justify this expenditure and finds this is not so.
Is my hon. Friend not aware that it is the same people, some of my constituents and the constituents of one of my hon. Friends and neighbours, who suffer year after year, and although it may seem that £2¼ million is a lot of money to other people, to these people who suffer every year £2¼ million is only a very reasonable expenditure? Will my hon. Friend look at it again?
§ Mr. Scott-Hopkins
I certainly understand my hon. Friend's anxiety, but I would point out that we have not had a scheme submitted to us by the river board concerning this and it does not seem to consider the expenditure justified. We deal as sympathetically as possible with applications as they come in.